Extended Planting Forecast: April 14, 2018

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Significant rains are here for the weekend. Saturday and Sunday we have combined rain totals of .5”-2” with coverage at 90% of the state. To get into the upper part of the range, you will need to have a few stronger thunderstorms, but there is a fairly good strong to severe weather threat for tomorrow afternoon and evening, along with mid to late morning on Sunday. Rains will come and go tomorrow, and we expect some significant holes in the coverage to be seen through mid-afternoon. But, then things fill in a lot more, the closer we get to the cold front itself. Behind the front, significantly colder air blasts on Sunday afternoon and evening. In fact, we expect lingering moisture to change over to an end as some sloppy wet snow Sunday night, and we can’t rule out on and off wet snow for Monday. Strong northwest winds will be at 15-30 mph overnight Sunday night and Monday, and temps will be back to 10-12 degrees below normal at least, perhaps 15 degrees below normal in spots. The map above shows total precipitation through Monday morning.

While clouds, cold air and the threat of scattered light snowflakes dominate the discussion for Monday, we should see better chances for sunshine Tuesday, but it stays cool. In fact, the cool air holds through most of the rest of the week.
Our next wave of moisture moves back into the state at midweek on Wednesday. Light rain showers develop mostly over northern Indiana, giving .05”-.25” of liquid. We do expect rain, not snow from this event. South of I-70, we see nothing, and may even see some sunshine. We are dry to finish the week Thursday and Friday.
At the end of the 10-day period, we have our next front arriving late the 21st through the 22nd. Rains look significant with totals expected a range from half to 1.25”. Coverage will be around 80% of the state.

Extended Period

For the extended 11-16 day window, we have 2 more systems, one on the 25th with .25”-1” rains, and finally, a strong low coming out of the plains for the 28th with .5”- 1” rains. Coverage from all three systems will be around 70% to 80% of the state. This forecast, as it currently sits, continues to have not quite enough dryness in-between systems to see significant fieldwork through the end of April. Soil temps were boosted by the warm air the past few days, but with cooler air returning, a fast rise in soil temps for the second half of the month is not seen. But, keep in mind normal temps are rising, and therefore, even temps 10-15 degrees below normal will be rising…we are not going to keep soil temps down forever. Precipitation will be the biggest limiting factor to fieldwork.

Weeks 3 & 4:

Colder than normal temps in for weeks 3 and 4, continuing the current pattern. No real surprise there. Precipitation looks to be nearly normal for the period. Specifically, we see a potential for a strong front around the 9th with moisture up to 1”, and a weaker front closer to the 12th bringing potential for half an inch or less. If this holds up, though, that would put a nice, roughly 1-week period of dry weather in from the end of April up to that May 8th-9th period…so mark that with an asterisk (in pencil, of course) …it may be a window we can shoot for. Confidence is no more than moderate, but it’s worth looking at.

Precipitation (green: above normal, brown: above)
Temperatures (blue: below normal, orange: above)
Precipitation (green: above normal, brown: below)
Temperatures (blue: below normal, orange: above)